Image: Matthew Emmons USA Today
On April 1st, FC Dallas announced the surprising transfer of defensive midfielder Thiago Santos. Santos will be returning to his homeland Brazil and joining Gremio. The transfer was first announced by Globoesporte on March 31st. (https://globoesporte.globo.com/google/amp/rs/futebol/times/gremio/noticia/gremio-acerta-com-o-dallas-fc-e-fecha-contratacao-de-thiago-santos-ex-palmeiras.ghtml?__twitter_impression=true)
The transfer is rumored to be over one million dollars, which would give FC Dallas a profit as they brought the midfielder to Frisco on a transfer that was around $700k. (https://www.bigdsoccer.com/2021/4/1/22362777/report-fc-dallas-has-sold-thiago-santos-gremio)
The transfer of Santos will also open another international spot, which Dallas was out of before the transfer. Andre Zanotta recently confirmed on the Dallas Soccer Show that the club is finalizing a deal on another player. There were questions within the fanbase whether this would be an international player or a domestic player, the recent transfer could point towards an international.
Image: AS Website (https://us.as.com/us/2021/04/02/futbol/1617316555_871701.html)
During his time with Dallas, Santos was a regular starter. He had 43 clearances, 8 blocks, 24 interceptions, and a single assist. (https://www.mlssoccer.com/players/thiago-santos/) He also earned 9 yellow cards. His play during the season earned him three appearances in the MLS Team of the Week, a spot on the bench in Week 1 and 2, and a starting spot in Week 23. (https://www.fcdallas.com/players/thiago-santos)
He brought a true defensive presence to the midfield that was missing since the departure of Carlos Gruezo. He was also brought veteran leadership to the club. Due to the condense schedule last year, Santos did have a few bad games, at 31 the three games a week schedule weighed on him. He returned to good form after a rest.
Santos, while only with Dallas for one season, was one of the favorites for fans. His defensive work impressed many and the transfer surprised many. Currently, Dallas have one true 6, Edwin Cerrillo. They have played Tanner Tessman and Bryan Acosta in that role in the past, though both players seem to be more comfortable as an 8.
By Melanie G. Isbell